The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced an additional investment of $15 million in the Models for Change: System Reforms in Juvenile Justice initiative.
The additional funding will be used in part to establish a new Models for Change Resource Center Partnership through which judges, prosecutors, defenders, policy makers, advocates, probation officers, and mental health and social service agencies are provided with technical assistance, trainings, tools, and resources to advance juvenile justice reform nationwide. Comprising four resource centers, the partnership will focus on a number of critical areas, including response to mental health needs, stronger legal defense for indigent youth, interventions for youth charged with status offenses, and coordination of practices and policies for youth involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, as well as enhancement of probation system practices.
Scheduled to be fully operational by the end of the 2013, the partnership includes the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change, led by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research, Inc.; the National Juvenile Defender Center; the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice, led by the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps; and the Status Offense Reform Center, led by the Vera Institute of Justice.
The funding from the foundation, which boosts its financial support for the Models for Change initiative to $165 million, also will support the development of the Juvenile Justice Resource Hub, a comprehensive source of information on juvenile justice issues and reform trends, and other initiatives.
"Reforms like the elimination of life without parole for juveniles and raising the age at which people are tried as juveniles are examples of progress toward a system that is fair, just, and humane in its treatment of our nation's youth," said Laurie Garduque, the foundation's director of justice reform. "There has been so much progress made over the past decade toward better outcomes for kids, their families, and their communities. But there is so much more to do, and juvenile justice reform must continue."